I recently came across these board books by Alain Grée -- and what a wonderful series they are! I only have My first book of Nature, My first book of Things That Go, and My first book of Sounds so far but there are many more -- My first book of the Farm, My first book of Opposites, My first book of Colors, and others.
While there are numerous first concept books available on the market (books that teach children names of objects, sounds, or highlight a particular theme or concept) I was drawn to this particular series because of the illustrations. Vintage-looking in their appearance, they initially reminded me of something out of the French Tintin comic series, which perhaps makes sense since Alain Grée is French. I wonder if TinTin was an inspiration (or at least an influence) for Grée's illustrations. Simple in their appearance, the illustrations alone make up a story from the minimal text. Each flower, each vehicle, each animal, all seem to be part of a bigger story that we as the reader are drawn into throughout series, as Grée often incorporates many of the same characters into each story. For example, the sports car from My first book of Things That Go is also in My first book of Sounds and while the word "Vroooom" could simply be accompanied by an illustration of a car, it includes a driver. This may seem like a minor detail, but it is because of those character reappearances (the sports car, a bee, a chick, etc.) as well as the added "stand-ins" if you will (the driver, the two people watering the flower pots in the illustration below, and others,) that we as the reader are drawn into a continuing narrative throughout the series.
Our 16-month-old was initially introduced to My first books of Things That Go and I could tell that he was interested in the book in a way that he wasn't interested in other vehicle or sound books, because of the illustrations.
My first book of Nature (below)
A beautifully done series and a wonderful source of information and fun for kids. Whether it's reading, "Whoof, whoof, the dogs bark" from My first book of Sounds, or simply identifying different vehicles, flowers, or other objects, I think the series has a lot to offer children.